Saturday, November 5, 2016

Conlon Nancarrow, String Quartet No. 1 - Steve Reich, Triple Quartet - Different Trains - The Smith Quartet (Live UK Performance)


What makes these performances special for me are two works: George Crumb's "Black Angels" (no surprise there, that section was my halloween post) and Conlon Nancarrow's early and imo fantastic String Quartet No. 1. Reich's Triple Quartet (for two pre-recorded string quartets and one live quartet) is quite listenable but doesn't really do much for me. Then there is "Different Trains". To put it mildly - I am *not* a fan whatsoever. And to put it plainly, I find the whole work extremely annoying and tedious - start to finish. Borderline torture. There are plenty of works that employ recorded tape, looping and vocal snippets that I like; this is just not one of them. I'm sure many of you feel differently, and that's not only fine, that's wonderful! That's what makes an individual listening experience so glorious. The global language and dance indeed.

So, please die-hard Reich fans - no hate comments directed at me ;)

An exuberant Conlon Nancarrow

-For George Crumb's "Black Angels" which is part of this live program, please scroll down three posts to October 31st.


lescamil said...

Once again, thank you so much!

Toon van Dijk said...

Many thanks and regards from The Netherlands.
Veel dank en groeten uit Nederland.

Johannes R. Becher said...

Last week I commanded a copy of the (legendary) pairing of Different Trains and Electric Counterpoint by the KQt and Path Metheny that I found at a very decent price in one of Amazon's resellers, so I'm delighted at reading this :D

Now seriously: I think there's been and there's still is too much hype about Reich's music --probably not so much as there is about himself: 18.000$ for just dropping in at a performance, if we are to believe Bob Shingleton. And Different Trains is undoubtedly rather overvalued, even by experts like Alex Ross. I however feel some kind of emotional attachment to this piece, belonging as it does to my initiation in "serious" music. I'd like it to be less pounding and shorter, but well, that's the way it is. It's his shameful attempt at repeating the feat with 9/11 that I cannot suffer.

Apart from that, if I'm not wrong Reich must be now around 80. Glass and Adams must not be much younger. The Fathers of Minimalism are getting older and I don't think there's nothing exciting about their music any longer. Can somebody imagine yet more "phases" being composed and published? (Well, Archiv did it recently). Reich's old dog tricks are indeed old. I see those compilations, the comprehensive Reich 65-95 and Nonesuch's Retrospective) and feel a gap in time as large (even larger!) as that between Use Your Illusion and Chinese Democracy, to use an easy analogy.

ECM has recently refurbished its three Reich albums into a compilation with new liner notes by no less seasoned figure than Paul Griffiths. I guess he'll be as flattering as needed.


roberth said...

i love nancarrow so thanks also interested to hear different versions. i love the arditti version best so far. not so impressed by kronos.
also haven't heard the triple quartet before
but usually i like early reich only. and i will look for black angels
as the old usa quartet version i have on vinyl is pretty scratched up